Railways planning 320 kmph BKC-Ahmedabad corridor
In what could be pegged as a vital development for the city, the railways are planning on the country’s first high-speed rail corridor starting from Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai and going all the way to Ahmedabad. Over the last decade or so, BKC has developed into a business hub, to which several businesses, government organisations, commercial offices and multi-national companies have shifted their base from Nariman Point in south Mumbai.
Test run of a magnetically levitated (Maglev) train in Tsuru, Japan. File pic/Getty Images
The seed for this plan was sown on January 21, after authorities from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and officials from Indian Railways had several meetings. JICA is an organisation that provides technical support and helps in projects that promote economic and social growth in developing countries. Japan was the first country in the world to start high-speed trains in 1964.
The group made selective site visits to the proposed route on which the new rail lines would be created. According to senior railway officials, the proposed route for this Rs 60,000-crore project would begin from BKC, going right up to Thane on the central line. From here, there will be a diversion on the Trans-Harbour route which is on the Thane-Diva-Vasai-Virar stretch. As it switches over to the Western line, from here the rail route will go across to the neighbouring state and touch Ahmedabad.
Cutting travel time
Senior officials from railways state that the special air-conditioned bullet trains are likely to run at 320 kmph or more, which would enable people to cover the 500-km distance (approximately) faster. Presently, it takes close to six hours to cover this distance, with the train travelling at a top speed of around 150 kmph.
“The high-speed rail corridor on this route could cover the same distance in around 2-2.5 hours or so, thus bringing down travel time drastically,” said a senior railway official. According to sources, there would be a minimum distance of 50 km between two railway stations. Under these circumstances, there would be not more than 10 stations on this corridor.
This plan changes the initial idea of operating the high-speed corridor starting from Pune, coming down to Mumbai and then going towards Ahmedabad. Sources claim that the earlier proposal would have made it more capital-intensive and was out of reach for its actual implementation.
Considering it a key infrastructure project, the Prime Minister’s Office is also monitoring the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project. The project is likely to be executed on a public-private partnership model, in which state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to be stakeholders along with Indian Railways.